CMA’s Industry Prep Program CMA EDU Empowers College Students During Annual Summit

CMA EDU Launches Application-Based Model, 2021-2022 Candidates May Apply Now

CMA hosted its seventh annual CMA EDU Leadership Summit July 27-28 to engage college students with the Country Music industry through professional development and networking opportunities. While participants are typically invited to the CMA offices on Nashville’s Music Row, the two-day event was held virtually this year for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To make the CMA EDU experience more impactful for student participants, CMA has converted the group from a campus-based model to an application-based model, which is expected to yield more meaningful opportunities and, ultimately, increased post-graduation job placement.

“Building on the established 10-year brand, we felt it was essential for CMA EDU to evolve to better meet the needs of both our students and industry,” says Tiffany Kerns, CMA Foundation Executive Director and CMA VP of Community Outreach. “The changes allow for better engagement by fostering connections and learning the fundamentals across the many employment opportunities that exist within the music business. The program will continue to illuminate leadership opportunities and empower members to embrace the uniqueness of the industry. We are most excited to work with such a talented applicant pool, demonstrating relentless drive and ambition.”

This year’s summit welcomed a class of 51 students from 13 schools, representing Belmont University, Clemson University, Middle Tennessee State University, North Carolina State University, Ohio State University, University of Alabama, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, University of South Carolina, University of Southern Indiana, University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Vanderbilt University.

Students participated in trainings on topics ranging from communications and brand management to mentorship led by Kerns and CMA Membership Engagement Manager Kate Kaltenbach, in addition to holding peer group discussions.

The summit concluded with keynote speaker John Esposito, Warner Music Nashville Chairman and CEO, sharing career tips along with his journey in the music business, followed by a Q&A session with the students. “Get your foot in the door. Don’t worry about what you’re getting paid. Just get paid and then out-hustle everyone,” advised Esposito.

College students interested in applying for the next CMA EDU class can learn more at